Kickstarter Aims To Hold Creators More Responsible With Updated Terms by Bree Brouwer of Tubefilter

Funding a creator’s project on Kickstarter can be risky, because it’s hard to be sure they will deliver on their campaign promise. While Kickstarter has previously never forced its creators to finish what they started, the definition of “finished” is more clearly outlined in an addition to the site’s terms of use.

Section 4 of Kickstarter’s terms of use mentions how a legally-binding agreement is entered into once a creator posts a project and when a backer decides to fund it. But the terms now take this idea one step further, clarifying that “If a creator is unable to complete their project and fulfill rewards, they’ve failed to live up to the basic obligations of this agreement. To right this, they must make every reasonable effort to find another way of bringing the project to the best possible conclusion for backers.”

Kickstarter then outlines several ways a creator must remedy the situation, such as posting “an update that explains what work has been done, how funds were used, and what prevents them from finishing the project as planned” and offering “to return any remaining funds to backers who have not received their reward (in proportion to the amounts pledged), or else explain how those funds will be used to complete the project in some alternate form.” You can read the full list of expectations in the terms of use section.

Kickstarter’s CEO and co-founder Yancey Strickler gave some explanation on why the site’s terms of use were updated. “Sometimes problems come up, projects don’t go according to plan, and people wind up in the dark about what’s supposed to happen next,” he writes in a company blog post. “So we’re spelling it out — what’s expected from backers, what’s expected from creators, and what needs to happen if a project runs into trouble.”

The addition isn’t surprising considering how many projects have never actually been completed since the crowdfunding site’s inception. As a recent example, the YouTube group Yogscast officially announced in July that their successfully-funded project from 2012 (a game called Yogventures) is now canceled.

Kickstarter has always avoided getting involved in disputes between creators and backers unless they concern legitimate legal matters like fraud. However, this addition to the terms of use will not only help build the “healthy, trusted environment” Strickler talks about, but it will also rein in over-promising creators and give backers more peace of mind.

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